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The Capitol Dome of the Capitol Building at sunrise, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Washington. After another government shutdown, congress has passed a sweeping long term spending bill which President Donald Trump is expected to sign later this morning. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Eight Berks County schools and the Berks County Intermediate Unit have received a total of more than $1.1 million in federal funding to help educate historically underserved students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Additional Targeted Support and Improvement grants are administered by the state and funded through the federal CARES Act. They are intended to support schools in areas like academic achievement, graduation rate and regular attendance.

The grants, which are part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), are targeted toward students in groups based on race, economic disadvantage, English language learners and disabilities.

"While all schools have been impacted this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the schools that have been identified under ESSA as needing extra support are facing additional challenges," Gov. Tom Wolf said of the grants. "This funding will help these high-need schools as they put systems in place to help students while we work to control the spread of this virus."

State Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said the impact of the pandemic is likely greater on students who were already underserved before it struck, and the grants are meant to help to provide equity.

"Recognizing that COVID-19 response efforts, including building closures, are likely to exacerbate outcome gaps for historically underserved students, schools and intermediate units are encouraged to use these additional funds to accelerate efforts to engage local stakeholders and implement appropriate, evidence-based improvement strategies," he said.

A total of $17 million in grants for 220 education agencies across Pennsylvania were announced Tuesday.

The following grants, totaling $1,116,996, were awarded in Berks:

  • Reading High School — $668,101.
  • Muhlenberg Middle School — $99,931.
  • Gov. Mifflin High School — $93,406.
  • Berks County Intermediate Unit — $66,770.
  • Daniel Boone High School — $48,324.
  • Conrad Weiser High School — $42,887.
  • Antietam Middle/High School — $39,222.
  • Tulpehocken Junior/Senior High School — $36,761.
  • Conrad Weiser East Elementary School — $21,594.
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